The History of Roulette
The game of roulette was invented in France, in the middle of the 18th century. Roulette means “little wheel” in French. Its roots go back to England, at the beginning of 18th century. But the first modern roulette wheel was used for the first time in Paris, during 1796.
The game is based on randomness, with the casino having an established advantage. By betting on a single number, you’ll have a stake of x35, while there are 37 or 38 numbers. The game consists of a wheel that spins around and a ball. The wheel has 36 numbers and a 0 (or 36 numbers, a 0 and a 00 in American Roulette).
The ball can stop on any of these numbers. You can bet on any of them separately, or on a few numbers at a time, but if the ball stops on 0 or 00 - all stakes will be lost, except the ones made exactly on 0 or 00.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll explain what roulette is and how to play roulette in a casino. Most importantly, we’ll explain the wrong ways of playing it. If you’re new to roulette, you’ll find lots of useful information about the game and its rules, so buckle up.
The rules of Roulette are pretty simple. Anyone can master them in a few minutes and start playing. The game needs a roulette wheel, a paytable, a ball, and chips to make bets with. There’s a croupier, who sends the ball spinning around the roulette wheel, and when a ball stops on a particular number - that number wins. You can bet on a number itself, or on a group of numbers.
There are two types of Roulette: European and American. The American version has 38 stops and two of them are blank. Its house edge is 5.26%, which means that in the long run, the casino takes 5.26% of all bets. European roulette (with a single zero) has a house edge of 2.7%, which is almost twice less than that of the American one, but it usually has a larger minimum bet, so it’s more preferred by high rollers.
The most interesting part is that both versions are, in fact, European. The one that’s now called American, is the original roulette, presented in Paris during the 1790s. While the European version was introduced by François Blanc in 1843, in order to have an advantage over other casinos.
There are also a few rules that might make the game even more favorable for you. These rules are La Partage and En Prison. They are quite similar, but we will still have to examine them separately:
- La Partage means “sharing” in French and this rule is quite common in European casinos. If the table runs with the La Partage rule and the spin is zero - half of all even-money stakes (high-low, even-odd, black-red) can be taken back by players. Only half of them will be lost. This rule diminishes the house edge on even-money bets, down to 1.3%, which is the best you can get from it.
- Atlantic City roulette rules are equal to La Partage, but applied to American roulette, instead of the European one. In Atlantic City, you’ll have a house edge of 2.63% on even-money stakes.
- En Prison rule is a variation of La Partage rule for European roulette, where if the current spin is zero, you can follow the La Partage rule or leave the whole stake on the table for another spin on the same bet (place it “in prison”). If the bet wins on the next spin - you can recoup it, and if it loses, you forfeit it.
There is a standard pay table for roulette and the only difference between pay tables for American and European roulettes is that the American one has 00. At first, it might look a bit complicated, but we’ll explain everything about it and then you’ll see how simple it is.
Why so Famous?
Since the day of its invention, there has been a lot of talk about roulette, including the diabolic theory. The sum of all numbers on a Roulette wheel equals 666, the so-called “Number of the Beast,” which automatically somehow makes this game evil.
Roulette is also featured in hundreds of novels, short stories, plays, and movies as a fatal passion of rich and poor men. They subsided in the depth of sin and violence all because of that game. Sensing our sarcasm?
Unfortunately, there are too many stories about people who lost everything playing roulette, and too few stories about those who scraped up a fortune doing it. Still, people keep hoping to win and some of them even try to find a system allowing them to beat basic math. We’ll explain everything you need to know about these systems in general and about some of them in particular. But before that, you should know one thing: no betting system can beat the house edge in the long run.
There are many roulette betting strategies, and each of them isn’t worth a dime. Each beginner should realize that the odds of hitting a win on roulette are the same no matter what. You can play some intricate betting system, make random bets with your eyes closed, or just go all-in and it doesn’t matter. The probability of winning won’t change. The probability of winning on black won’t increase if the ball will stop on a red color a hundred times in a row. It will be the same as the probability of hitting red for the 101st time.
Let’s have a look at what the most famous betting systems:
Martingale system. This one is the best of all and it offers you a few possibilities. The catch is to double your bet each time you lose. By doing this, you’ll be sure that you will get your money back if you win at least once. It looks quite good until you start counting.
Let’s suppose that you started from €5 and lost eight times: the ninth stake will be €1280, which is more than most usual roulette tables allow to bet on a single spin. The Martingale strategy has two significant drawbacks.
- Firstly, it might save you from minor losses, but if you lose - you lose a lot.
- The second problem is that this system works only if there is no maximum stake and you have an unlimited amount of money. In all other cases, you will exceed the budget or a stake limit. The funniest thing is that many people think that this system works because they won using it. They’d probably win without using it, but they’ll never know.
Grand Martingale system. This system basically means you should not only double the stake when you lose, but also add another unit to it. For example, if you lost €10, the next stake will be €30 (10x2+10), the following will be 70 (30x2+10), and so on. The drawbacks are the same: you can use this system if you have lots of money.
You can also use another system, which is apparently more flexible, and oriented on winning and not on “not winning.” According to it, you should bet 25% of your total chips each time. By doing this, you automatically raise the stakes when you’re winning and lower them when you’re losing. The problem is the same - you win if you’re lucky and you lose if you’re not, exactly as it happens when you’re playing without any system. Another drawback is that if you lose a significant amount - 25% of your total chips might be not enough to play.
At first glance, these systems might look useful, but it’s mathematically proven that none of these systems guarantee you a win. The house edge always beats all betting strategies, but there’s one way to beat a casino: by playing on a damaged roulette wheel, or by learning the croupier’s manner of spinning it or throwing a ball. This possibility was reflected in many books and even has a few historical examples.
Some roulette wheels have flaws, which affect their spinning, and some croupiers make similar moves that make their throw predictable. Professional players, as well as scammers of all sorts, are used to noticing such things, and take advantage of them. Even by playing on a biased wheel, you won’t get too much, since all wheels and croupiers are continuously watched and regularly checked. Any significant winning will raise suspicions.
Roulette is a fun game, with easy rules, which can be played by anyone. But like any other game of chance, roulette is dangerous for those who believe that randomness can be beaten by the system. There is no efficient betting strategy for roulette, so the best way of playing it is to consider it an entertaining amusement and simply have fun!
Updated: 27 Apr 2018